• A complaint issued by two organizations alleges Sen. Patty Kuderer used a racist term and lacks respect for Chinese Americans. 

By Leona Vaughn

WNPA News Service

Washington Asians for Equality and the American Coalition for Equality filed a complaint to the Secretary of Senate and Senate Counsels against Sen. Patty Kurderer, D-Bellevue, demanding an apology for her use of what they considered racist language.

The complaint, filed Monday, Jan. 20, was over something she said during a hearing before the Senate Housing and Affordability Committee on Friday, Jan. 17. Kuderer used the term “Chinese fire drill” to refer to a brief moment of confusion during the hearing.

“Chinese fire drill is a racist term,” said Linda Yang, head of Washington Asians for Equality, in an email. “We are deeply offended. There are many Chinese Americans living in Sen. Kuderer’s 48th District. Her senseless use of this offensive racist term demonstrated her racist attitude towards Chinese Americans that we have experienced over and over.”

Kuderer apologized for her Friday remark in her opening statement to the Senate Housing and Affordability Committee on Monday, Jan. 20.

“I actually want to apologize for an insensitive remark I made in committee last week,” Kuderer said in her opening statement. “I will certainly endeavor to be more mindful. In all the confusion that was happening on Friday – calling of witnesses – it was an attempt to be light hearted but sometimes, we don’t say things the way we really intend them to be.”

In a Jan. 20 letter to the Secretary of Senate and Senate Counsels, the two organizations are demanding an official apology from Kuderer to the Chinese American community.

Andy McVicar, a senior Senate Democratic communications specialist, said in an email that Kuderer has spoken with an investigator and plans to let the apology she made in committee stand as her statement on the incident.

“We will follow through and make sure that proper investigations and actions will be taken,” Yang said in an email. “Our community deserves to be treated respectfully.”